Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Healthier Mexican Pizzas

Yup... still trying to keep things lighter... and still completely addicted to Mexican food.

I was going to make tostadas with some leftover Smoky Mexican Chicken. Then Taco Bell Mexican Pizza popped into my head. So I changed it up!


They are so easy and definitely lightened up!

Healthier Mexican Pizza
6 flour tortillas, 6 inch
3/4 C refried beans
1 1/2 C Smoky Mexican Chicken
3/4 C reduced fat Mexican cheese, shredded
6 TBLS smooth taco sauce
3 TBLS scallions, sliced
12 jalapeno slices

Preheat oven to 400F
Place tortillas on a large baking sheet.

Bake tortillas until golden & crisp.

Push down any bubbles that might pop up on the tortillas to keep them flat.

Spread 1/4 C refried beans on half of the tortillas.

Then spread 1/2 C Smoky Mexican Chicken over each tortilla with beans.

Cover chicken and bean covered tortillas with remaining crisp tortillas.

Spread 2 TBLS taco sauce on pizza.

Evenly spread 1/4 cup shredded cheese on each pizza.

Add scallions.

And jalapenos.

Bake until cheese is melty.

Let it set for 3 - 5 minutes, then cut into quarters & enjoy!!

You can top these with your favorite toppings. This is just what I had on hand tonight. You can add black olives, diced tomatoes, diced red onions, cilantro, or for some cool fresh crunch, sprinkle on some crispy shredded lettuce when it comes out of the oven.

How did this measure up against Taco Bell Mexican Pizza?

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza - 1 pizza
Calories: 530
Total Fat: 30g
Total Carbs: 46g
Protein: 20g

Healthier Mexican Pizza - 1 pizza
Calories: 485 - 45 calories less
Total Fat: 12g - 18g fat less
Total Carbs: 43g - 3g carbs less
Protein: 47g - 27g lean protein more (more than twice as much!)

Not too shabby!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ginger Garlic Green Beans

Just a quick tasty side!

You'll need:
Fresh Green Beans
Fresh Ginger Root
Garlic Cloves
Salt & Pepper to taste
Scant drizzle of Olive Oil

Trim green bean ends and snap into bite-sized pieces.

Grate about a teaspoon of ginger root and a couple cloves of garlic.

Drizzle Olive Oil in a very non-stick, non-stick pan and heat to medium high.

Add Green Beans, Grated Ginger Root, Grated Garlic Cloves and toss until well mixed.



Saute until tender crisp.

Season with Salt & Pepper to taste.

That's it!!


This goes with almost anything!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Normally if I'm making Chimichangas, I'd be using my Smoky Mexican Chicken and it would definitely be fried.

But I'm still trying to keeps things light at my house, so while the Smoky Mexican Chicken would definitely fit the bill... the frying definitely would not.

I think my spider cried a little... he's just been standing around in my Kitchenaid just waiting for the opportunity to dip into some hot oil and scoop out some yummy fried morsels.


Not to worry, I'm not giving up frying, just frying a little less. But last night, there was no hot oil action for spider.

I've been talking about my new favorite cookbook Foods and Flavors of San Antonio. Right away I decided to make the Chicken Chimichangas found on page 16. I also knew I'd try baking them. I refuse to give up taste or texture for a healthier dish, so I had my fingers crossed that baking would ruin them. And it DEFINITELY didn't!


I changed the recipe slightly because I couldn't find any canned tomatillos and the refresh one looked decidedly less than fresh! My changes are in green.

Baked Chicken Chimichangas
2 lbs skinless chicken breast
1 dried chipotle chile
1/2 C onion, chopped (I used less onion, since I replaced the tomatillos with tomatillo salsa)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin (more cumin, because I really like it!)
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
16 oz tomatillo salsa (couldn't find decent tomatillos)
2 15.5oz cans pinto beans, drained & rinsed
salt & pepper to taste
8 10in flour tortillas

Optional but suggested garnishes: lettuce, salsa, guacamole

Place chicken breasts and dried chipotle chile in a large sauce pan add water until covered.

Cook 15 - 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken with forks and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Remove seeds from chipotle and dice chile.

In a large non-stick skillet, coated with cooking spray, saute onion, garlic and chipotle until tender. Add tomatillo salsa, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer 3 minutes. Add beans and shredded chicken. Cook until heated through.

Wrap flour tortillas in a slightly damp towel and microwave for 30 seconds, until pliable.

Place 3/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of a flour tortilla, fold sides in, then fold in top and bottom.

Place on a baking sheet coated in cooking spray. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas.

Lightly spray tortillas with cooking spray. Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Garnish with lettuce, salsa and guacamole.

Guacamole instead of sour cream... good fat instead of bad fat... plus it's a veggie!


Throw the chicken in a pot with a dried chipotle or two, cover with water and 15 - 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

This was nice. The chicken had a really mild chipotle spicy flavor when it was cooked.

Shred the chicken with forks (or your hands if it's cooled enough)

This time General Prang is interested in what I'm doing at the counter.

Saute the onions, garlic and chipotle until tender.

Add tomatillo salsa, beans & spices and cook a few minutes until they're heated through.

Then add the shredded chicken.

This smells amazing!! My recipe would typically smell like taco meat. But the addition of coriander, cinnamon and cloves gave it a completely different aroma. It kind of reminded me of mole.

Mmmmmm.... doesn't that look good?

Now put 3/4 cup of chicken mixture into the center of each tortilla. (one at a time, unless you have a gigantic counter)

Now normally I'd roll this like a burrito. Definitely not an easy shape to fry. The instruction in the recipe said to fold the sides in, then fold up the top and bottom. You end up with a little pocket shape.

Here's where I veer away from the recipe. Instead of frying these, they get baked. (sorry spider... don't worry, there are still Deep Fried Candy Bars, Lumpia & Chicken Wings in your future!

Place the yummy little chicken packet on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas.

Give them a light spray with cooking spray and pop them into an oven preheated to 450F. Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.

I garnished them with shredded lettuce, salsa and guacamole




I spread the lettuce, salsa & guacamole on top before I started to eat it and it really had a restaurant flavor/feel to it.

Jon and Lilly and I really loved these. Tawny wasn't a big fan. So I asked if she liked my Spicy Empanadas. She said, "NO!! That's what these remind me of!"

If you like the empanadas, you will love these!

How did these fare compared to their full fat deep fried relatives?

Definitely two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Nutritional Info per serving (one chimichanga):

Calories: 468.2
Total Fat: 7.1 g
Cholesterol: 65.7 mg
Sodium: 1,322.5 mg
Total Carbs: 61.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.3 g
Protein: 38.7 g

Adding 2 TBLS of my homemade guacamole.
Calories: 44
Fat: 4 g
Carbs: 2 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: <1 g

Still a healthy low fat completely delicious meal!

We have 4 left from last night... I know we'll eat three tonight... who will get the last one?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Smells like the 80s

So this blog is 'Just what's going on in my kitchen".

And every once in a while... it's Shake-n-Bake Pork Chops, Rice-a-Roni, Stove Top Stuffing, a Veggie (canned) and some kinda ready made Biscuits/Dinner Rolls!

One day last week was one of those days!!


My family LOVES these days!!!

We had fresh green beans... and no biscuits/bread... so it was a little better.

They often try to talk me into Cheesy Hashbrowns Hamburger Helper too!!

The Hamburger Helper days only happen once every couple of years (if they're lucky... or unlucky... I guess it depends on your POV!)

Every once in a while... that stuff is great!!

Dinner ROCKED!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chicken Pinto Tortilla Soup

One day last week, I wanted to make my usual Chicken Tortilla Soup. There's no exact recipe for it, but it typically contains chicken (duh), taco seasoning, corn and of course crunchy tortilla strips.

I really didn't want to go to the grocery store. But sadly, I had no taco seasoning and no corn. The only chicken I had was the pre-cooked, pre-seasoned chicken strips. I like to keep them on hand to crank out some quick quesadillas or panini.

Anyway, the soup is typically pretty healthy, so I really wanted it for dinner.

My friend Michele over at My Italian Grandmother has been putting together 'pantry meals'; Meals made up of what you have on hand. So I headed to the pantry!

I knew I had the chicken.

I had no corn (how the heck did that happen??), but I found a can of hominy. I bought hominy for something else, and ended up with an extra can. I didn't really care for it the first time and meant to donate it to a food drive. I guess that didn't happen. But I needed a veggie and all I had on hand was frozen peas, and they just didn't seem right.

I had no taco seasoning and although I have a VERY well stocked spice cabinet, I was just too lazy to make taco seasoning, so I used chunky salsa instead.

Broth... open box of veggie broth in the fridge... check... oops, not quite enough, I'll fill it out with chicken broth.

I found a can of pinto beans in the pantry... those would work!

Plus of course cumin & epazote (my new fav Mexican herb)

And I always have all kinds of tortillas.

I found the fixins for a pretty nice soup!

I ended up with this!


Chicken Pinto Tortilla Soup
3 C veggie broth
1 C chicken broth
6 oz chicken, cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can pinto bean, drained
1 can homini, drained
1 C your favorite chunky salsa
1 tsp dried epazote (or cilantro or oregano)
1 or 2 tsp cumin
Smokey Chipotle Tabasco, a few good shakes
4 corn tortillas
cooking spray
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450F
Combine first 9 ingredients in a soup pot.
Simmer 20 minutes.
Cut tortillas into 1/2 in strips, spread out on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. Toss and rearrange back to a single layer.
Bake until lightly browned.
Sprinkle tortilla strips over bowls of soup.
Garnish with cilantro, cubes of avocado, or reduced fat shredded cheese.

Nutritional Info per 2 Cup Serving
Calories: 324.7
Fat: 3.5
Carbs: 53.3
Protein: 17.9


I keep these on hand. Not necessarily this brand, just whatever is onsale.

I cut them into cubes

And tossed them into the stock pot with everything else and let it simmer.

Meanwhile, I was making the tortilla strips.

Cut corn tortillas into strips and spread them in a single layer in a baking sheet.

Give them a little spray with cooking spray and a sprinkle of salt.

Then into the oven until lightly browned.

Sprinkle them on top of your soup!

Or use them for chips... or put them in a burger... this time, they were sprinkled on soup.


And a little fresh cilantro.

Avocado cubes would have been great... but I didn't have any!

But it was a light tasty soup that everyone really enjoyed. I really liked the hominy in the soup. It's like fluffy corn. I know know why I didn't care for it the first time!

The best part was that I didn't have to make a trip to the store!

girlichef's Tortilla Soup Challenge!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

San Antonio Chicken ~ Second Sunday San Antonio

I got Foods & Flavors of San Antonio a couple weeks ago from Heather over at girlichef.

I posted about it HERE. Did you get your copy yet?? I'm sure most of you are eagerly awaiting it's delivery!

Anyway... this is my first time participating in Second Sunday. Every month a new recipe is chosen from Foods & Flavors of San Antonio and everyone makes the recipe as written, or with their own spin.


This month's recipe is San Antonio Chicken. I had planned to make Chicken Chimichangas tonight, but saw the new Second Sunday recipe was up and decided to join the fun!

Stay tuned... Chicken Chimis will definitely show up here in the very near future!

Without further adieu...

I tweaked this recipe just slightly. My changes/additions are in green.

I added the chipotle, because I remembered it from the chimichanga recipe and opened the can, before re-reading this recipe.

Plus a large clove of garlic... just because I felt like it.

I swapped the bell pepper for a poblano chile, because Jon doesn't really like bell peppers.

I swapped out the black beans for pinto beans, because we don't really like black beans.

Extra pimentos... again... my lack of reading the recipe.

I used chunky salsa... what is picante sauce?

San Antonio Chicken

* 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
* 1 (1.25 oz.) package taco seasoning
(one chipotle chile)
* 3 T. water (from cooking chicken)
* 2 - 3 T. vegetable oil
* 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
* 1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped (poblano pepper)
* 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
* 1 (2 oz.) jar pimientos (4oz)
* 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed (pinto beans)
* 3 cups hot cooked white rice
* 1 cup picante sauce (chunky salsa)

Place the chicken and chipotle chile in a saucepan and cover with water. Let
simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked
through. Remove to a cutting board and coarsely chop the
chicken and chile.

In a medium-size bowl, toss the cooked, chopped chicken with
the taco seasoning mix and 3 TBLS of water that the chicken was cooked in. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add
the onion, garlic, green bell pepper poblano chile, and corn. Saute until tender.

Add the pimientos, black beans pinto beans, chopped chicken, rice, and
picante sauce chunky salsa. Stir to mix and heat through.


Cook the chicken and coarsely chop it.

Toss chicken with some water from cooking the chicken and taco seasoning.

Saute the onions, garlic, poblanos, chipotle and corn until tender.

Add pintos, chicken and pimentos and toss.

Add rice and salsa, mix well and heat through.

Dinner time!

This was really tasty! Everyone really enjoyed it and I'll definitely be making it again!

Wanna play too? Head over to Second Sunday!